When Is It Officially Time for NY Knicks Fans to Slam the Panic Button?

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When Is It Officially Time for NY Knicks Fans to Slam the Panic Button?
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

A small stumble has turned into a collapse.

When Carmelo Anthony tripped over his feet on March 5 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, it seemed more bizarre than it did threatening.

But that crumble to the floor wasn't an isolated fall, as the elite talents of the New York Knicks' superstar remain absent.

The loss of Anthony has led to the Knicks’ recent downfall, and now it’s all crashing down in the world’s biggest urban playground.

New York’s customary, worrisome frenzy is suddenly justifiable.

The Knicks (38-26) have fallen to third place in a tightly woven Eastern Conference and are just 2.5 games ahead of the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics.

New York has lost four consecutive games and five of seven since Anthony's injury against Cleveland. Even then, the wins came at the Detroit Pistons and at home against the Utah Jazz.

When Anthony gave it a go, in blowout losses at the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets, he shot a combined 7-of-27. He left early to a chorus of boos in his return to Denver.

He won’t play Monday on the road against the Utah Jazz either.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote that Anthony is feeling "a lot better," but the superstar still ruled himself out against the Jazz. Isola quoted Anthony:

Something with the hamstring,” Anthony said after taking part in shooting drills early Monday. “It was in the back of the knee. It didn't have anything to do with my actual knee, the ligaments or anything like that. I think I tweaked my hamstring a little bit. My hamstring was tight and the fluid probably was drained.

In that same Daily News piece, an unnamed leading orthopedic surgeon said that fluid in the knee is not found in a 100 percent normal knee and that "it means there is something going on with the knee."

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The thought of losing Anthony and his 27.5 points per game for an extended amount of time is detrimental enough to the Knicks, but that’s just the headliner of this losing fight.

New York's superstar slots are all vacant.

Amare Stoudemire's latest knee injury will keep him out until at least the first or second round of the postseason.

It doesn’t appear that Tyson Chandler will play Monday either, battling a bruised knee and a neck strain. Chandler's backup, Kurt Thomas, is also questionable with a sprained right foot.

 

The oldest team assembled since basketballs started using air is showing its age.

There may be a bit of a break on the way. After New York finishes its current road trip in Utah on Monday, the Knicks play losing teams in each of their next three games.

Then the Knicks will really be tested.

The Knicks face the surging-from-behind Celtics twice, on March 26 and 31. In their final 14 games, New York will face 10 current playoff teams, eight of which are from the east.

The Knicks will rely heavily on Raymond Felton and the less-efficient scoring of reserve guard J.R. Smith down the stretch, especially if Anthony can't go.

Since Anthony's injury, Smith is shooting 40.6 percent for 22 points per game. In those same seven games, Raymond Felton has shot 48.1 percent for 14.6 points per game and is averaging 4.4 assists.

Still, that’s a lot of pressure to put on two guys who are unproven as successful leaders.

The frantic apprehension surrounding the current status of the Knicks is justifiable.  

New York is crumbling.

 

Jimmy Spencer is an NBA Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him at @JimmySpencerNBA.

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